Amicable divorces are not the norm but this doesn’t mean that life after divorce need be one that’s burdened with the same emotions that you carried through the process.
Moving on from a breakup or moving on from divorce doesn’t mean you have to destroy to feel whole again.
Judging by the emails we receive from time to time, long running anger and resentment is pretty common even after several years of living and being apart.
Couples long divorced who won’t attend their grandchildren’s christening if the ex is going to be present.
And the ones who refuse to be part of their children’s wedding if their ex spouse is coming with his/her new partner.
There are a whole lot of powerfully negative emotions associated with divorce. There’s anger, there’s hate, and all the ones associated with grief and loss.
But anger seems to be the most prevalent especially during the divorce process. And, as it’s well known, the source of anger is usually hurt. Someone gets hurt and wants to hurt back.
But despite all this, divorce is not a license to destroy.
- Because, if anything, you both played a role in the final breakdown of your marriage. If you don’t agree, ask yourself these questions. Did you say yes to marrying him/her? Did you ignore signs, hints and/or red flags around you at the time of dating? Do you believe that you are absolutely not responsible in any, any way for the end of your marriage? What could you have done different?
- Because, where children are concerned, it stops being about you and your anger. Of course you can express it as you please because it’s vital for the healing process that you do so, but don’t involve the children, don’t use them as messengers, advocates or spies and don’t involve them in adult issues. What they really need right now is the adult in the room to provide them with security and affection so that their already shattered world is not destroyed beyond repair. And that adult is you.
- Because, unless there’s cause for concern, the relationship that the children have with the other parent is their relationship alone. Divorce is not a license to destroy a relationship between the children and the other parent by holding them hostage because you’re not happy or due to lack of child support payments and increasing any negative effects of divorce on children. Don’t be the one whom the children grow up to resent and begrudge because you arrested and broke a relationship that was so dear and critical to them.
- Because anger is toxic. Anger eats you up, not the person that it’s directed towards and holding on to it will not help you along your journey of living with or coping with divorce. You operate with high levels of adrenaline and cortisol which affect your immune and cardiovascular systems. Release the anger and you free yourself. Yes, easier said than done but it’s definitely not impossible. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Whatever is begun in anger, ends in shame.”
- Because the emotions of divorce cause you to hold yourself hostage to a past and a person you wish to rid yourself off. Those emotions become you, you carry them and identify with them. Then here on, those whom you meet along your way only get to know the person whose mind and soul carry anger and resentment.
- Because no one can make you do anything you don’t want to. This means that we are totally responsible for our actions, unless of course there’s a gun or some sort of threat involved. But when we make decisions to behave a certain way, or do something destructive then that simply falls on our shoulders. It’s all about taking responsibility.
Divorce is tough and can be ugly. Destructive emotions run high, very high sometimes.
But it’s very possible to contain those feelings and stopping yourself from becoming either verbally or physically destructive.
There are so many ways. It’s just a matter of finding what works for you and making your life after divorce as happy as you can get it to be.
Soila is the founder of The Divorce Magazine and creator of the online course – Helping Children Cope with Divorce
She is known for taking away the pain of trauma and loss in children, adolescents and their families and is the author of “When Love is Broken. A read-together book for children and parents going through divorce and separation.
Soila holds an MSc in Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology from UCL (University College London), is an accredited Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) practitioner and a trained Family Mediator.
Soila is Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society.
You can contact her on 07850 85 60 66 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org